MOTOWN GOES DOWN:
Detroit is known for a deep musical root system, especially within the realm of Motown, but there was nothing harmonious about Alfie’s on-ice return against his old team.
As a lofty, sentimental headline story about the Sens (playing against their old captain who fled town) dominated the press yesterday, another big headline was in the works:
It didn’t really matter and the game went on.
Oh yeah – that and the fact that Ottawa looked like a brand new, fast-hands, high-octane offensive machine against the highly touted Red Wings.
After gaining a quick 3-0 lead in the first, and forcing Jimmy Howard to the pine (who only stopped 5 out of 8 shots), the Sens looked sexy on the ice. And I mean DEAD sexy.
Eric ‘Hall-ender’ Gryba (still too soon?) netted his first of the season on a feed from Mika ‘back-in-action’ Zibanejad , while Jason Spezza and Bobby Ryan had all scored by the 14:14 mark of the first period.
Out went Howard and in came…Jonas Gustavsson? The monster? With a lifetime 44-47 record? (Wow. Who knew that guy was still playing the NHL, after he was basically both the king and the scourge of Toronto in a span of about three years?)
Although Detroit put the screws on a little tighter, adding a Bertuzzi wrap-around near the end of the first, there was nothing that could be done to stop the Sens on this fateful night.
Spezza and Ryan both added another goal and Jared Cowen blasted home his second of the year. Spezza now leads all Sens with 7 goals and 3 assists (10 pts), while Ryan is closely following the new captain with 6 goals and 3 assists (9 pts).
Final score? 6-1 Ottawa.
The overall shot count was pretty close (Sens 28 – Detroit 32), but the usual free-wheeling Detroit looked like a team playing on its heels.
Apparently, Coach Paul-rus Maclean has been trying to drive home a point to his team in the past few games – and that point is ‘never take your foot off the gas’.
Adding a goal in the second and two more in the third, it certainly seems like the message was well-received by the Red And Black Heart Attack.
ROCKS FOR THOUGHTS:
The last time the Ottawa Senators won a regular season game by five goals, it was against the New York Islanders in 2012. We all know that they won by a lot against the Habs, but I think we’d all like to (ahem) forget that strange beast of a playoff series.
After watching this team for 20 years (and incessantly for the last four or five), it was odd to not be losing the lead or trying to crack the egg of a one goal game.
Seeing them move the puck around, use their speed effectively, and utilize guys like Kyle Turris and Clark MacArthur to their full potential was a long and overdue satisfying experience.
Yes – we all miss Alfie. But I think we can all finally move on, now. He is on a great team who had a bad night – but our team is not too shabby without him.
If the 4-3-2 Sens (who host Anaheim on Friday) can keep making notches in the point column, and effectively play against a wide-open style like they did last night, this is going to be an exciting season to watch.